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332                   HISTORY OF PERSIA                  CHAP.
dynasty, whose tomb I have visited near Meshed.1 This
act was evidently approved by the Shah, who immediately
appointed Nadir his Commander-in-Chief. In this
campaign success returned to the Safavi arms, both
Meshed and Herat were reduced, as will be narrated in
the next chapter, and among the honours heaped on
Nadir was the title of Tahmasp Kuli Khan, Kuti signifying
a "slave."
The Defeat of the Afghans at Mehmandost, A.H. 1141
(1729).—Meanwhile Ashraf was collecting his troops, fully
realizing that he must once again stake everything on a
decisive battle. Owing to home troubles and the necessity
of garrisoning important centres, his field army was only
thirty thousand strong. One half of this force was com-
posed of Afghans, and owing to the recent brilliant victory
gained over the Turks the moral of his veterans must have
been high.
Nadir had wisely persuaded the Shah to draw the
Afghan force from Isfahan, and the event proved his
sagacity. Ashraf, realizing that the Persian army was
daily increasing in numbers, decided to march into
Khorasan before it became too strong, and Damghan,
situated near the Parthian capital Hecatompylus, was the
scene of the first of many victories in which the arms of
Iran, after a humiliating eclipse, were victorious against
a foreign foe. The Afghans charged with savage shouts,
but made no impression on the veterans trained by Nadir,
whose musketry and artillery fire inflicted heavy losses.
Ashraf immediately detached two columns to make a
circuit on the right and left of the enemy, while he him-
self again charged the front. Nadir was far too ex-
perienced a general to allow these tactics to succeed.
Beating off the attacks with ease, he ordered a general
advance, which broke the Afghans, who were discouraged
by the death of their leader's standard-bearer. Leaving
their camp to the enemy, they fled panic-stricken and
with reduced numbers along the road to Teheran, where
it is said they arrived in two days' time—a distance of
two hundred miles. This battle is known as the battle
1 " Historical Notes on Khorasan," Journal R.j4.S., Oct. 1910.